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Stop Crying And Fight: Why Modern Fighters Need to Be More Like Mayweather Was

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Stop Crying And Fight: Why Modern Fighters Need to Be More Like Mayweather Was
Photo Credit: Terence Crawford/Instagram

Floyd Mayweather Jr. never threatened to retire or bitched about his opponents. He set them up and mowed them down. The current generation of boxers needs to do the same.

“I should have gotten more [money when I fought with Top Rank], but I wasn’t greedy or picky, I was appreciative,” the former five-division world champion said in 2016.

“These fighters today… I’ll say it like this. If you want to cry and you want to complain, win all your fights. Don't cry and complain if you can’t win all your fights. You take what we give you and be appreciative.”

Money Mayweather Backs It Up

Love him or hate him, Floyd Mayweather's work ethic has never been in question. Photo: Mayweather Promotions

Love him or hate him, Floyd Mayweather's work ethic has never been in question. Photo: Mayweather Promotions

Although his comments are nearly eight years old, they still hold true today. Before the second half of his career, Mayweather had already won world titles in four weight classes and held significant wins over Diego Corrales, Jose Luis Castillo, Zab Judah, Oscar De La Hoya, and Ricky Hatton.

On top of those wins, we’re talking about a guy who was wildly entertaining both inside and outside the ring.

Is there anyone who is remotely close in today’s sport? Not really. We have a lot of fighters who want the Mayweather money and try to emulate his persona, but most of the time, it comes off as disingenuous and borderline cringe.

Floyd Mayweather always delivered on his entertainment value. Photo: Showtime Boxing

Ask yourselves this. If a prime Floyd Mayweather were booked on a weekday fight card leading up to a major automobile race or a Super Bowl, do you really think he would have stunk up the show? Absolutely not. It would be a “You Can’t Miss This Fight” event.

With some younger fighters, it’s such a hit or miss. It’s either an outstanding performance or a pile of manure. Can we at least have some Febreeze somewhere in the middle?

Too Much Whining, Too Little Boxing

It wasn't quite as disappointing as Stevenson vs. De Los Santos, but Lopez vs. Ortiz failed to deliver for fans. Photo: Mikey Williams, Top Rank Boxing

It wasn't quite as disappointing as Stevenson vs. De Los Santos, but Lopez vs. Ortiz failed to deliver for fans. Photo: Mikey Williams, Top Rank Boxing

WBO World Super Lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez has been complaining for eight months following his stunningly easy decision victory over former undisputed world champion Josh Taylor last June. At the post-fight news conference, Lopez announced his retirement at age 25, commenting he's “not getting paid enough. A million dollars? Get the f— out of here.”Lopez made $2.3 million for the ESPN main event, with the purse itself listed by the New York State Athletic Commission listed his purse as $1.5 million.

Lopez added he would only return if given a $100 million contract. Obviously, his retirement plans didn’t exactly pan out.

In January, Lopez (20-1, 13 KOs) announced his return during Super Bowl week in Las Vegas to face Jamaine Ortiz at Michelob Ultra Arena. Talk about a massive opportunity to show if you’re truly worth that $100 million contract.

The fight stunk. Lopez landed 78 of 364 punches (21%), and Ortiz connected with 80 of 409 punches (20%).

Ortiz didn’t do himself too many favors, either. His jab gave Vasiliy Lomachenko and Lopez fits. But with a victory within his grasp each time, Ortiz failed to seal the deal. When Lopez closed the distance, Ortiz would retreat and refuse to engage. Most judges aren’t going to reward this, and they didn’t.

Lopez won a unanimous decision with scores of 117-111, 115-113 and 115-113.  He appeared to be searching for a home run shot but it never came. Rather than cut off the ring, he followed Ortiz around, and the result was a chorus of boos throughout the fight.

Et tu, Shakur?

Shakur Stevenson won his third division title against Edward De Los Santos, but it scored zero style points with fans. Photo: Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images

Shakur Stevenson won his third division title against Edward De Los Santos, but it scored zero style points with fans. Photo: Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images

Shakur Stevenson also blew a chance to improve his brand. The 26-year-old Stevenson (21-0, 10 KOs) defeated Edwin De Los Santos (16-2, 14 KOs) in a 12-round unanimous decision. De Los Santos' 40 landed punches were the lowest ever recorded in CompuBox’s 38-year history. Stevenson wasn't any better, landing 65 punches.

The all-time snooze fest took place leading up to Formula 1’s Las Vegas Grand Prix on November 23, 2023. Stevenson announced his retirement in January but hinted at a summer return two weeks

The Excuses Don’t Cut It

Teofimo Lopez Jr. didn't put on the performance he promised against Sandor Martin in their junior welterweight fight at Madison Square Garden Saturday in New York City. Photo: Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images Lopez vs. Martin fight

Teofimo Lopez Jr. didn't put on the performance he promised against Sandor Martin in their junior welterweight fight at Madison Square Garden in New York City. He promised a bounce back effort vs. Jack Taylor. Photo: Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images

Ortiz’s strategy was not aesthetically pleasing, but that’s still not an excuse for Lopez’s performance. He didn’t cut off the ring and followed Ortiz around, looking for that one-punch knockout. This was far from a $100 million performance.

When Lopez faced Sandor Martin in December 2022, he failed to cut off the ring and won a disputed decision. After the fight, Lopez was caught on a hot mic asking his father and trainer, Teofimo Lopez Sr, “Do I still got it?”

Canelo Álvarez: Leading By Example

Wherever Canelo Álvarez appears, fans follow - even to a ceremonial weigh-in against a less than inspiring opponent. Photo: Esther LIn, Showtime

Wherever Canelo Álvarez appears, fans follow – even to a ceremonial weigh-in against a less than inspiring opponent. Photo: Esther Lin, Showtime

Say what you want about world unified super middleweight champion Canelo Álvarez of Mexico. He made no excuses against Billy Joe Saunders when they fought in May 2021 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

The former two-division world champion requested a larger ring. Álvarez obliged and proceeded to break his face. The Mexican veteran is also one of the best in the sport at cutting off the ring, which Lopez has continuously struggled to do.
Some people ask why Canelo is arguably the face of boxing. There’s your answer. He has consistently delivered on the biggest stage, and he has a long, storied résumé to back it up. Fans love it. They buy tickets to his fights and pay the PPV fees. It’s why Canelo Álvarez gets paid what he does.

Boxing Is The Entertainment Business

Boxing has a lot of problems, and overpaying fighters is a solid chunk of the conflict.
Many promoters are not getting a return on their investment. Exorbitant purses have boxed them in to the point that none can afford to pay fighters the money they demand to fight more than once or twice a year. It’s an insult to the fans when their fights stink.
Ask any boxing fan if they’re excited for the next Shakur Stevenson or Teofimo Lopez fight. If they give you a weird look, it’s not a good sign. Fans control the market. If you upset your customers repeatedly, as both Stevenson and Lopez have, there’s a loss of trust.
If you want the big money, show the fans what you’re made of.